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Ensuring an Effective Transfer of Land Ownership in Lagos

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how to transfer ownership of land in lagos

Are you looking to transfer ownership of land in Lagos, Nigeria? Whether you’re looking to sell, rent, or gift your land, the process can seem overwhelming. However, with a little bit of knowledge and preparation, transferring land ownership to Lagos doesn’t have to be a daunting task.

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the steps you’ll need to take to transfer ownership of land in Lagos, including the legal requirements, documents you’ll need to provide, and the fees involved. Whether you’re buying land for the first time or you’ve done it before, this post will give you useful information to help you feel confident about the process.

Transfer of Ownership of Land in Nigeria

Transfer of Ownership of Land in Nigeria

As a property owner, the transfer of ownership of land is a crucial process that involves transferring the rights and responsibilities of a piece of property from one individual or entity to another. 

It’s important to note that this transfer also covers all other assets on the land, including buildings, minerals, and any other developments.

A variety of laws and regulations govern the transfer of land ownership in Nigeria, particularly in Lagos State. Some of the key laws governing land transactions in Lagos include the

  • Land Use Act of 1978, 
  • Administration of Estate Laws of Lagos State 2015, 
  • Stamp Duties Law of Lagos State 2015, 
  • Land Registration Law of Lagos State 2015, and 
  • Lagos State High Court (Civil Procedure Rules) 2019.

It can be hard to figure out how to follow these rules and laws, especially if you don’t have a legal background or a lot of experience buying and selling property. That’s why it’s important to seek the advice of a property consultant and a lawyer who specializes in property transactions. 

These experts can help you understand the laws, make sure the transfer process is done right, and avoid future legal problems.

Process for Transferring Ownership of Land

Process for Transferring Ownership of Land

In Nigeria, changing who owns land can be a complicated process, but property owners have a few choices. One of the most common methods of transfer, especially in Lagos State, is through the sale of the property. 

However, other options like gifting, mortgages, probate, and assent are also available to landowners. 

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Selling Landed Properties

In the business of real estate, a sale is usually the best way to directly change who owns a piece of land. This process, known as a “sale of land transaction,” involves the transfer of an interest in land from one party (Party A) to another (Party B) in exchange for a monetary sum.

But if the goal is to safely and legally give someone else the title to a piece of real estate, it’s important to know and follow the different legal and social rules that govern this kind of transaction. 

1. Stages in Sale of Land

When it comes to the sale of land, there are typically two main stages that must be navigated. Understanding the processes involved in each stage can help ensure a smooth transaction.

The first stage is the contract stage, where both parties, Party A and Party B, enter into a legally binding agreement for the sale of the land. This stage is essential as it lays out the terms of the sale, including the purchase price and any contingencies that need to be met.

The second stage is the conveyancing stage, which is the final step in the process. Here, both parties will sign a conveyancing deed that legally transfers ownership of the land from Party A to Party B. This step is very important to make sure the transaction is legal and that the land ownership is registered and kept up-to-date with the right authorities.

2. Where the Land is a Family Land 

When it comes to selling land, especially land that is considered to be owned by a family or a group of people, it can be important to get approval from key people. 

This is because the land may not be owned by just one person, and to legally transfer an interest in the property, you need the approval of the head and most important members of the family or community.

3. Regulations and Town Planning Laws

When considering developing a parcel of land in a specific region of Lagos, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the local town planning regulations. 

The government frequently plays a key role in determining the types of buildings that are permissible in a given location. By understanding the town planning laws for the area, you can ensure a smooth transfer of land ownership and avoid any potential legal issues.

Additionally, familiarizing yourself with the local zoning laws will help you avoid the risk of property demolitions or non-compliance with regulations. This is particularly important if the land in question is situated in proximity to roads and water channels.

4. Pending Court Issues

When it comes to transferring ownership of a piece of land, the legal principle of “clean hands” applies. This means that, in order for a successful transfer to take place, all disputes related to the land in question must be resolved. 

If there is a legal case going on about the land, the ownership cannot be changed until the case is settled in court.  This is a very important part of real estate transactions, and it’s important to make sure that everyone is aware of any legal problems that may need to be solved before the land transfer is finalized.

This is a very important part of real estate transactions, and it’s important to make sure that everyone is aware of any legal problems that may need to be solved before the land transfer is finalized.

5. Signature of Parties

When you want to change who owns a piece of land, you have to pay close attention to the details and follow the law. 

To successfully transfer ownership, it is important to make sure that all transaction documents, such as a title transfer document and a contract of sale that explains the terms of the deal, are correct and signed by both parties. 

Additionally, it is important to verify that all land documents, including deeds of assignment, certificates of occupancy, and other proofs of ownership, are properly signed by the true owner of the land. This is to protect against any legal problems that might come up because of the sale. 

Furthermore, the signatures of witnesses are also a crucial requirement for a valid land transaction, with the law requiring at least two witnesses for a deed of conveyance to be considered legal and enforceable. 

This step is to make sure that the land transfer is legal and that both parties agree to it. Any interested party should also check that the deed of conveyance is signed by witnesses before accepting it as proof of ownership.

6. Perfection

Once all the necessary requirements have been met and the important papers have been signed, the final step in the land transfer process is to complete the transaction. This assumes that the full purchase price for the property has been paid. There are three important steps that must be taken to finish the transfer process:

  1. Obtaining the Governor’s Consent: According to the laws in Nigeria, all land in each state is vested in the governor of that state. Therefore, in order to change the ownership of a piece of land in Lagos, permission must be obtained from the governor.
  2. Stamping of legal documents: It’s necessary to stamp legal documents such as the deed of conveyance, survey plans, and other land documents that are registrable and should be done within the required time. Also, Paying the stamp duty charges is important as it indicates that the document is valid for registration.
  3. Registration of the Deed of Conveyance: After stamping, The next step is to register the Deed of Conveyance, which is mandatory as it is a registrable instrument as required by the law. It is necessary to show proof of payment before the documents can be registered, so all registration fees must be paid.

To make sure that the transfer of land ownership goes smoothly and legally, it is important that all of these steps are done correctly and on time.

Gift of Landed Property

Gift of Landed Property

If you’re considering gifting your land to another person, whether it’s a friend, family member, child, or organization, one of the most important steps is to draft a deed of gift. This is a legal document that serves as proof of the gift and establishes the recipient as the new owner of the land.

It’s important to know that the process of transferring ownership of land is different when you give land as a gift than when you sell land. One of the key differences is that gifts of land are typically exempt from registration fees, unlike the sale of land. But a deed of gift can still be recorded at the land registry or land bureau as proof of ownership.

To ensure that a gift of land is valid, certain conditions must be met. These include:

  • The gift must be made by deed,
  • The giver must intend to make the gift,
  • The land must be completely transferred to the recipient,
  • The recipient must have accepted the gift.

By following these steps, you can effectively gift your land to the intended recipient while also protecting yourself from any potential legal issues.



Another way to change ownership of a piece of land is through the use of a mortgage, which is a temporary transfer of interest. 

When a landowner decides to use their property as collateral for a loan, they are entering into a mortgage transaction. This means temporarily giving the land’s title to a bank or other financial institution as security for the loan.  property, In order to secure a mortgage loan, a mortgage deed is needed.

It’s important to note that a mortgage is a temporary transfer of an interest in the property, and in a legal mortgage, the borrower is still legally considered the owner of the land even after the mortgage and can get the property back as long as they pay back the loan amount and interest within the agreed time.

However, if the borrower defaults on paying back the loan, the bank or financial institution that gave the loan has the legal right to sell off the property in order to offset the loan sum. This is important to keep in mind before taking out a mortgage loan.

Probate and Assent

Probate and Assent

Probate is the legal process by which the interests in a deceased person’s landed properties are transferred to others following the administration of the deceased’s estate, whether or not there is a valid will.

When a person dies and leaves a valid will with personal representatives appointed as executors, the executors will apply for probate, which, once granted, grants the executors the legal ownership rights to the deceased’s property. However, they only have the right to transfer ownership of the land to the people named in the will.

If the deceased did not leave a will, the deceased’s representatives can apply for a “letter of administration” to the probate registry in Lagos State; this letter, once granted,   transfers all the interest in the deceased’s assets to the personal representatives, who are also known as administrators.

For a letter of administration, once granted, the administrator acquires legal ownership rights over the landed property and the power to transfer ownership interests to another person.

To successfully transfer ownership to a beneficiary or another person as an administrator, an important document that is needed is “assent.” This is a document that is used to transfer the property of a deceased person to a person named in their will or to another buyer. It is usually given with a Letter of Administration or Probate, ensuring the smooth and legal transfer of the property’s ownership.  

Steps to Take to Ensure Legal Ownership Transfer

Steps to Take to Ensure Legal Ownership Transfer

To change who owns a piece of land, you need to know the legal requirements and be able to predict possible legal problems and deal with them in the right way. To ensure a smooth transfer, the first and most important step is to consult with an experienced property transaction consultant. 

These experts know how to navigate the complicated world of property law and can help you get the best result possible. When you buy or sell land, they can also make sure that you are following all laws and rules.

Another important thing to do is carefully look over all the relevant land transfer documents, such as the land purchase receipt, contract of sale, survey plan, deed of assignment, certificate of occupancy, etc. To avoid problems with scammers who try to sell the same land to more than one buyer, it is important to get original copies of these documents from the real owner.

Also, if you want to buy land that a court has given to someone through a “vesting order,” you should carefully read the court’s decision to find out who the real owner of the land is and make sure there aren’t any open legal disputes about the land.



Transferring a legal interest in land is a complex process, and it is important not only to know the steps involved but also to understand the source of the interest being acquired. It is very important to make sure that the land being given away was not obtained through illegal or dishonest means.

For example, accepting a gift of land that was obtained illegally could result in the gift being taken away. Additionally, a transfer of ownership of land with a defective title will also be invalid, regardless of how well the conveyance deed is written.

As a landowner, it’s also important to make sure your interest in the land is recorded, especially if it is a deemed grant. The law requires that the holder of a deemed interest grant register their interest in order to further protect it. This will allow you to transfer a valid title and protect the person benefiting from the transfer from any potential claims of ownership.

In summary, it is important to be aware of not only the legal requirements but also the source of the interest in the land and take steps to protect it by registering the interest if necessary. This can help ensure a smooth and valid transfer process while also protecting both the buyer and seller from potential legal issues.

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